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Hug-a-hoodie was misinterpreted. Perhaps this one will be too.

I see its penned by Gordons favourite little weasel Andrew Porter, so its bound to be primed for controversy

The time has come to organise a "boycott the Telegraph" movement until it gets its act together. Nothing wrong with criticism but this is deliberate misinterpretation in a supposedly Tory paper.

It's just the Victorian idea of the deserving and undeserving poor all over again. How progressive. His analogy "you are fat, you eat to much", "you are poor ..." leaves the "it's your fault, too" out of it, but that's the subtext.

Good people are rich, good people are thin. Oh, we'll help you if you are bad, as long as you realise it's all your fault.

Passing leftie you could not be more wrong. The people who have most to gain from the politics of justice ARE the good people whose lives are blighted by the amoral behaviour of those the elite has refused to judge. They're not rich, they're stuck with their environment, and what have they had from Brown? A refusal to judge bad behaviour in others which is blighting their lives. The outcome of the refusal to judge is the carnage on our streets in London, because for the decade of labour, adults have been taught to be terrified of judging the behaviour of others. What's your prescription anyway? A lecture about not wasting food?

I've disagreed with criticism of the Telegraph on this site in the past but I have to say: that headline is quite appalling. This is supposed to be one of the UK's premier newspapers.

No wonder American journalists are instructed to distrust every British newspaper but the FT.

A few more speeches like this one and I'll be starting to think that Cameron isn't so bad after all.

Excellent speech which is absolutely right for our times. This is clear directional stuff which the vast majority of the public will support. More of the same please DC.

As for the Telegraph, since Brown became PM its political coverage and its columnists have deteriorated markedly. Mary Riddell, Janet Daley and Heffer are abysmal, no wonder Rachel Sylvester jumped ship.

James Forsyth has written a superb post over at Coffee House explaining why we shouldn't be worried.

After "hug a hoodie"..."chide a chubby"?

This speech touches on some very important points. However, there is an underlying issue that he needs to address. A lot of the policies that have caused problems are manifestations of the general policy of inclusion. Inclusion is a laudable aim in many ways, and of course not being judgmental is an easy way of achieving this.

There are some interesting (and somewhat counterintuitive) results in this respect. You might imagine that the incidence of mental illness should increase as society fragments but the evidence that I have seen is that the opposite is true. People who might in the past have been forced to think of themselves as different are accommodated into a mainstream society that is tolerant of a broad range of behaviours, and this seems to be most beneficial.

This is not to say that Cameron is not saying something very important here. Boundaries are important and so is self discipline (a phrase I haven't heard for ages). And for children, who naturally have
very little sense of self discipline, this means just discipline.

But we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and the skill is going to be to try to blend the advantages of a tolerant and non-judgmental society with the clear need for moral absolutes and boundaries, especially where children are concerned.

A marvellous speech.

The Telegaph's headline is deliberate misrepresentation and disinformation. What is going on?

Mmmm politicians talking about morality again. Now there's a thing.....

Unfortunately, what David Cameron fails to do in any real sense is define within the speech what his interpretation of what is 'morality'.

His recognition that moral neutrality is not desirable is a good (but rather obvious) point but we've already had someone talk about their 'moral compass' in the last 12 months and to this day I'm no clearer what is so moral about that compass?

By making such open statements I suspect David Cameron has left himself open to any interpretation of his speech that the media choose to make. The reality of this speech (as has been demonstrated by the wide variety of comments) is that it is so open in its meaning that it can be taken to mean many things to everyone one of us.

To pick up on one point that Cameron did address, one of the main reasons why the people of this country are demoralised is partly because of the weak, confused and amoral leadership that we have suffered for much of the last several decades. The other key factor is that it was the Church that to a great extent, like it or not, that once upon a time defined the moral code that the country adhered to and on a weekly basis, year on year (for many) reiterated it. With the decline of the Church a moral vacuum has been left.

So if Cameron wants to rejuvenate our collective morality, the questions are what flavour of morality would a Conservative Government facilitate and how will the place in society that the Church once filled be once again occupied?

Just repeating the words 'responsibility' and 'morality' will not be enough to carry the people for any length of time. Confusion and disillusionment will soon set in. Gordon Brown has found that out.

This is not unlike what Margaret Thtcher was trying to say in 1987. Her words were distorted but I think people who have bothered to read her comments in full and seen what's happened since, are now more willing to listen and realise that we canot go on as we are. Cameron's words will find fertile ground among most people in this country:

"I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation".

Source: Prime minister Margaret Thatcher, talking to Women’s Own magazine, October 3 1987

How many of those problems are there because of the state taking over people's lives? How many charities and voluntary efforts have disappeared because various branches of the state have provided free alternatives (temproarily) or the legislation has made it impossible for people to do anything for themselves? God help Britain if we still look to politicians to solve our problems. How about butting out? You know, like getting their grip off our education system?

ah, I see what Thatcher meant by "there is no such thing as society" now.
As in it's just a concept; The same as the internet doesn't exist, it's just a load of computers joined up.
There seems to be a lot of things where people are confusing concepts like that with physical objects.

...and it's normally the headline writers that do the confusing!

Obviously you can't believe the Telegraph, which is like some mad old relative whose dementia grows worse by the week.

But just so I can sleep tonight, will somebody please tell me that Cameron didn't say 'the poor have no one to blame but themselves'.

You’d have thought that with “obese, idle and poor” in the headline, “obese”, “idle” or “poor” might appear in either the story or the speech. Except for “poor policing”, you’d be wrong.

What causes a paper like The Telegraph to lose its way so badly. Does anybody like it any more?

You’d have thought that with “obese, idle and poor” in the headline, “obese”, “idle” or “poor” might appear in either the story or the speech. Except for “poor policing”, you’d be wrong

He used the words "obesity", "poverty" and "not enough exercise."

There is little more unedifiying than the sight of someone as privileged and work shy as Little Lord Fontleroy hectoring poor people about their behaviour, and judging people who have chosen not to marry. Yes, it pretty much is Thatcher all over again.

Passing Leftie, I was talking the pedantic, traffic warden sense.

Do you think that poverty, obesity, alcohol abuse and drug addiction are purely external events? Or do you think that, sometimes, they are the consequence of bad choices? And if society has to accommodate the consequences of bad choices then, to do their jobs, society’s elected governors must be able to say "these choices are bad"?

To end my series of questions for you, do you see any hypocrisy in the politically correct accusing politicians of hectoring?

Mark, I think you can easily work out the answers to those questions by answering these:

Do you unemployment rose in the 80s because of human nature changing and more people being bad or lazy, or do you think it was a combination of public policy and economic conditions?

Do you think obesity is on the rise because of a general is because of a general and unprecendent change in human nature causing people to be bad, or do you think it's food distrubution, marketing, transport and a change in the nature of working class jobs?

Looking at the individual circumstances of people and saying "you are bad" is not a recipe for good public policy. You have to look, in general, why people are obsese, and see if there is anything you can or should do about it as a matter of public policy.

I suspect you are in favour of abstinence as a method of birth control if you think moralizing of this kind works.

The right wing obsession with "political correctness" as a geniune monolithic evil is simply a reaction to legislation to help provide a level playing field for everyone. I am surprised at you, as I remember you as the lone voice of reason in the discrimination thread.

Passing Leftie, from all these questions my interpretation is that you think "bad things" are always the result of external events while I think that our own action (or inaction) can contribute. If I am wrong, please correct me.

If bad things are always external then, presumably, good things are too. It’s a very depressing world view that says we have so little control over our own lives.

Looking at the individual circumstances of people and saying "you are bad" is not a recipe for good public policy. You have to look, in general, why people are obsese, and see if there is anything you can or should do about it as a matter of public policy.

Unfortunately we're not talking about David Cameron dragging fat, unemployed smokers off the street and giving them a good telling off. I say unfortunately only because it would be quite funny to watch.

Society has to be judgemental. The argument boils down to finding the limit of where society, and the politicians it elects, can express its opinion. If we can never disapprove then we are always seeking external excuses, when sometimes there are none. And if we always directing policy at excuses rather than reasons then we will fail.

I am surprised at you, as I remember you as the lone voice of reason in the discrimination thread.

As I do now, I frequently find myself the lone voice of reason.

A person's rightness or leftness could probably be defined by the spectrum of issues they call "politically correct". In my book sexism and racism are not politically incorrect, they are unequivocally wrong. A person’s age, on the other hand, I see as sometimes being relevant to an issue. If I were involved in policy making, should my ageist opinions be silenced and, were they to be silenced, would you understand why I would call that silence political correctness (rather than sincerity) and why I might consider myself hectored?

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